April 18, 2016 Approaches: Tax Time Tips to Consider

April 18, 2016 Approaches: Tax Time Tips to Consider by Laura Stack #productivity

"In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."—Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father In the United States, we've been conditioned—individually and collective—to dread the approach of April 15 each year. In 2016, however, we have the gift of three extra days before our taxes come due on Monday, April 18, because Federal employees celebrate Emancipation Day (observed on Friday, April 15 this year), so they get the day off. Hooray! While I’m no tax professional, I do have my own experience as a small businessperson to guide me and pass on to others. First, make sure you shred no-longer needed paper files, especially if they've already been digitized. To make the job easier, use an automatic shredder like my favorite Fellowes 200C. My second tidbit is simple … [Read more...]

Promises for the Future: 5 Ways to Set Goals as a Team

Promises for the Future: 5 Ways to Set Goals as a Team by Laura Stack #productivity

Teamwide goal setting is crucial if you expect to maximize and maintain your productivity. Your team members must always be clear about what your goals are, and how you'll get there; that should be a given. But realize that some of your team members will have a better understanding of goal-setting than others, so it's up to you to make sure they all stay on the same wavelength. Start With Individual Team Members. You'll find it easier to establish team goals if individual members also have personal goals to reach for. Chris might want to make $150,000 annually by the time he's thirty-five, while Jane may prefer to move up the management ladder toward CFO. As you learn your team members' personal and professional development goals, help them find ways to weave those goals into the … [Read more...]

Use Emergency Boosters to Change a Bad Mood

What's your strategy for shifting a bad mood? Here's mine! (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. www.TheProductivityPro.com … [Read more...]

My Daughter, the Millennial

My Daughter, the Millennial

Productivity Perspectives from a Gen X on a New Generation at Work I recently attended a meeting of the Colorado New Talent Management Network (www.contmn.com), which I co-founded several years ago. Our host and facilitator of this meeting, Steve Franklin, Director of Learning and Development at CoBank, led attendees through a discussion of millennials at work. The audience tossed out some of their perceptions about millennials: they are job hoppers, want to move up quickly, have an entitlement mentality, and want flexible schedules. Let me tell you about my daughter, who is 20 and a junior at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. She’s already had several jobs. It’s been fascinating for me—a Gen Xer (1969)—to observe the work habits of a Millennial (1995). I was always interested i … [Read more...]

Are You Seeing Your Offerings Through Your Customer’s Eyes?

Are You Seeing Your Offerings Through Your Customer’s Eyes? by Laura Stack #productivity

Three weeks ago, I was working with 25 sales leaders of a large financial services corporation. We were discussing workflow and how to create an effective task management system. Seeing that they were all furiously taking notes, I told them they could instead download a free eBook I’d put together with screenshots and step-by-step instructions on how to use Microsoft Outlook Tasks correctly (text the word PRODUCTIVITY to 41411). They excitedly pulled out their phones and followed the instructions. So far so good. About two minutes later, a man furrows his brows in confusion, looks over at his neighbor’s cell phone, and starts whispering to her. At the break, I wander over to see what the problem is. He shows me his cell phone. He successfully opted in and confirmed the autoresponder. Che … [Read more...]

The Battle Trance Concept: Enforcing Collective Identity in Your Workplace Team

The Battle Trance Concept: Enforcing Collective Identity in Your Workplace Team by Laura Stack #productivity

"Within this moment I am for you, though better men have failed/I will give my life for love, for I am winterborn./And in my dying, I'm more alive than I have ever been/I will make this sacrifice, for I am winterborn." – Winterborn, by American rock band The Crüxshadows Here is the roundup of activity from Laura Stack’s blog, columns, podcast, and other featured articles. Scroll down to read the complete roundup of productivity resources to help you create Maximum Results in Minimum Time. This week on the Blog The Battle Trance Concept: Enforcing Collective Identity in Your Workplace Team Recently, I ran across the battle trance concept: an idea well known in the military environment where I grew up, but only recently defined in psychology. Essentially, it involves the subsuming o … [Read more...]

The Shadow Knows: Tapping Job Shadowing to Cover Critical Tasks

The Shadow Knows: Tapping Job Shadowing to Cover Critical Tasks by Laura Stack #productivity

"When job shadowing, the individual sees the actual performance of the job in action … the participant also sees and experiences the nuances of how the service is provided, or the job performed." – Susan M. Heathfield, American Human Resources expert. These days, roles in most white-collar teams have become so specialized, no single person can learn everything needed to keep the team's work processes running smoothly. Usually, the team lead has a good idea of the overall structure, but leaders have their own roles to play. A good leader hires for at least a slight overlap of skill sets, so the team can survive if a crucial team member falls ill, goes on vacation, or abruptly quits. Of course, team leads don't always have full say on whom HR hires, or may inherit a team lacking suf … [Read more...]

Laura Stack’s newest book, Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time, Hits Bookstores January 18!

Doing The right Things Right by Laura Stack #productivity

As an MBA student, Laura Stack was inspired by Peter Drucker’s classic 1969 book The Effective Executive. But a lot has changed since it was written. And while Drucker’s advice on what to do remains brilliant, he didn’t give much detail on the how. After 25 years of working with leaders, Stack’s new book is written for the 21st century executive, detailing precisely how today’s leaders and managers can obtain profitable, productive results by managing the intersection of two critical values: effectiveness and efficiency. Effectiveness, Stack says, is identifying and achieving the best objectives for your organization—doing the right things. Efficiency is accomplishing them with the least amount of time, effort, and cost—doing things right. If you’re not clear on both, you’re wasting your ti … [Read more...]

Impromptu Meetings: Cutting Down on Drop-Ins and Got-a-Minutes

Impromptu Meetings: Cutting Down on Drop-Ins and Got-a-Minutes by Laura Stack #productivity

"I wonder if you've got a minute." "I have many minutes, all of them used toward a common purpose." – Jodi Picoult, American novelist; quoted in Plain Truth. Here is the roundup of activity from Laura Stack’s blog, columns, podcast, and other featured articles. Scroll down to read the complete roundup of productivity resources to help you create Maximum Results in Minimum Time. This week on the Blog Impromptu Meetings: Cutting Down on Drop-Ins and Got-a-Minutes There's a statistic going around the business world that claims that something interrupts or distracts the average office worker every three minutes. Many people find their time nibbled away by otherwise well-meaning co-workers, who drop in unannounced at our cubicles or stop us in the hall to ask, "Got a min … [Read more...]

Match Your Task To Your Energy Level

How do you decide which tasks to do when? Match your tasks to your energy level and get more done! (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. www.TheProductivityPro.com … [Read more...]